PRESIDENT Hakainde Hichilema has insisted that his government will take money away from a small number of “big thieves” in Lusaka and disburse it to provinces and constituencies for development.

And President Hichilema has told traditional leaders in Muchinga Province that the corruption crusade which is in motion is not tribal but meant to recover all stolen assets which must be given back to Zambians.

Addressing citizens at Kasama Airport, Tuesday, President Hichilema thanked the people of Northern Province for their votes in the general elections and also urged them to abandon “dununa reverse” by moving forward.

“My first duty is to acknowledge the support of the people of Northern Province who gave us tremendous votes. I say so because we were campaigning under difficult situations. Each time I came here it was arrests, teargas and all sorts of things, but you still managed to vote for change. I do remember when we had the Lukashya by-elections, it was like a war zone. This is the way the country was running and it was very unfortunate but today because of your vote, the voice has a breath of fresh air and freedom is here. On that score the votes you gave to various positions, we thank you,” President Hichilema said.

“I ask the people of Northern Province not to do any more going backwards and no more dununa reverse. Let us just move forward and be part of this country’s development. What we now need is to deliver development for all our people in all the 10 Provinces of Zambia. Development will address all the challenges in this Province, roads, agriculture and other things going forward. You will see what you have never seen before in the first UPND budget. We are bringing money here in the Provinces. What we are doing is taking the money away from a small number of big thieves in Lusaka and bringing the money into the Provinces and constituencies so that development decisions can be made by you and supported by the financial allocations by this government that you put in place.”

President Hichilema said there would be a dramatic change in the UPND’s first national budget.

He added that contracts for building clinics and schools would be awarded to local people.

“There will be a dramatic change and that is what you are going to see. Only two months more to be done with the PF budget and then we will have the UPND budget. This is what will address the water challenges and even a number of small infrastructure in education. More importantly when the money comes we do not want to give contracts for building clinics and schools to anyone from other provinces other than the local people,” President Hichilema said.

“Previously contracts for building clinics were given to people in Lusaka, Copperbelt and even foreigners. We want the money to circulate here, therefore contracts and tenders will be given to you people. Prepare your businesses and you will be able to look after your families. That is just one little difference you are going to see between us and those who were saying you should go and rest. UPND does not belong to HH or to anyone of us but UPND belongs to all of us. All of our people are welcome to join UPND, this is their party and this is the way we want to reunite this country. Everybody is welcome because we do not want to leave anyone behind.”

And speaking when he met traditional leaders in Muchinga Province, President Hichilema insisted that the corruption crusade which was in motion was not tribal but meant to recover all stolen assets which would be given back to Zambians.

“Some of the PF MPs want to argue that it is a tribal issue, I am sorry to say that but it is not a tribal issue. We save money from greedy people and bring it to the people and take it to the owners in the constituencies and there will be no segregation. You will not see us saying ‘this is a UPND constituency, Shiwang’andu there or Chinsali is a PF constituency’, no. I am President elected by the people of Zambia for all the people of Zambia. So you will see water because we do not want to see our children or families using dirty water. We want water delivered to our people and our women walking long distances to fetch water,” he said.

“You will decide on what development projects to be implemented in your constituencies. After January I will not allow any child of Zambia sitting on the floor in each constituency, there should be desks all over Zambia. You have never seen any government do things like that and you are going to see it now. Even the tribal campaign that was here which was pushed by our friends after January, even those will say we are working. We are not going to be in government to take money and put in our pockets, no. We want to take money and give it to the people. And please your Royal Highnesses participate in those decisions.”

Meanwhile, speaking in honour of late freedom fighter Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe, President Hichilema said his government intends to translate the country’s independence and use it to transform the country’s economy.

“Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe made sacrifices that many of us living today are not able to. His wife Salome along with other fore fathers and mothers made our country to be liberated and worked for all of us. This is why as we celebrate our 57th independence anniversary celebration, we must remember the great contribution for politicians [which] this man and indeed his peers made with unmatched dedication and commitment. They pursued every opportunity and overcame every obstacle to secure our independence in 1964. These individuals relinquished their personal interests and put the country first and we must learn to do the same. We the generation of today must learn to do the same as these great men and women did. Otherwise we would not be celebrating independence today,” said President Hichilema.

“We must continue the journey that they left behind and write a new chapter for the new generation. We wish to translate the political independence that bashi Mpundu (Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe) and his colleagues set on us and use that platform to transform the economy of our country. We should translate the rich natural resources into reality, jobs and business opportunities for the young people to go to school and for the sick to go to decent hospitals.”